Horrific report. And all too familiar to anyone who has researched the “ex-gay” quacks. The Mormons have a version of this too, as do other religions. It’s sick, it doesn’t work, and it can very easily leave people “broken,” as the surviving siblings of this young man can attest. Anderson Cooper is covering the story tonight at 10pm Eastern, but CNN also has a story online.
At home, the punishment for feminine behavior would become more severe. The therapists instructed Kirk’s parents to use poker chips as a system of rewards and punishments.
According to Rekers’ case study, blue chips were given for masculine behavior and would bring rewards, such as candy. But the red chips, given for effeminate behavior, resulted in “physical punishment by spanking from the father.”
Mark said he was told to participate in the chip reward-and-punishment system as a way to make Kirk feel like the system was OK.
The family said the spankings were severe. Maris remembers “lots of belt incidents.” She escaped the screaming by going to her bed to “lay in the room with my pillow on my head.” Later, she would go to Kirk’s bedroom and “lay down and hug him and we would just lay there, and the thing that I remember is that he never even showed anger. He was just numb.”
During one particularly harsh punishment, their mother recalls, her husband “spanked” Kirk “so hard that he had welts up and down his back and on his buttocks.”
Rekers is George Rekers, until recently a religious right leader who was exposed as having a rent-boy travel companion. He’s also a cofounder of both NARTH (“the” religious right pseudo-science front group used to convince the media that there’s “real science” behind their quackery), and the religious right hate group, Family Research Council.